October 1, 2021

G160: Red Sox 4, Nationals 2

Red Sox   - 000 004 000 - 4  7  0
Nationals - 000 000 110 - 2 9 1

The Red Sox got back-to-back home runs from Hunter Renfroe (three runs) and Bobby Dalbec (one run) and made those four runs stand up, though not without some antsiness as Hansel Robles walked two batters with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Order was restored as Kelbert Ruiz's fly to short right was caught by Renfroe.

Elsewhere, the Blue Jays beat the Orioles 6-4 (Baltimore left the bases loaded in the T8) and the Rays edged the Yankees 4-3 (New York had scored two runs in the B9 and had two men on, with one out, but Gary Maniloaf and Rougned Odor both struck out). The Mariners lost to the Angels 2-1 (coming up empty in seven innings to tie or take the lead), leaving the Red Sox in sole possession of the second wild card spot.

Yankees    91-69  +1.0
Red Sox    90-70   ---
Mariners   89-71   1.0
Blue Jays  89-71   1.0
Eduardo Rodriguez (5+-5-0-3-6, 93) did not allow a run, but he dealt with a bunch of traffic and made a bonehead play at the plate. He stranded men at second and third in the first inning. He worked out of a bases-loaded-no-out mess in the fourth, getting a strikeout, a foul pop to first, and a soft grounder to second that Kiké Hernández came in on and weakly shoveled to first in time to beat the runner. (In the fifth, Rodriguez popped up a bunt attempt and did not run out of the box. Nationals pitcher Josh Rogers (6-7-4-3-3, 86) let the ball drop and a double play was turned. Who knows what EdRo was thinking, but if you can't manage to hustle with your season in the precarious position the Red Sox's campaign is currently is in, then . . .

Rodriguez left the game in the sixth with runners at first and second. Ryan Brasier got a force out at third base and then struck out Carter Kieboom and Andrew Stevenson to end that threat.

Boston had taken the lead in the top of that inning. Xander Bogaerts singled to left and, after Rafael Devers flied to right, J.D. Martinez singled to left. Renfroe blasted a 2-2 pitch to center field (#31). Dalbec then hit Josh Rogers's next pitch over the fence in left-center (#25).

Washington avoided getting Chicagoed when Alcides Escobar homered off Matt Barnes with two down in the seventh. Darwinzon Hernandez came in and walked Juan Soto. Josh Bell grounded a single into somewhat shallow right field. Soto, unwisely, tried for third and Martinez gunned him down.

Another solo Nats dong, by Jordy Mercer with one in the eighth off Adam Ottavino, cut Boston's lead to 4-2. Ottavino then gave up a ground-rule double with two outs, but he struck out pinch-hitter Ryan Zimmerman.

With the Nationals down to their last out and trailing by two, Robles could have gone after Soto, since a solo shot would not have tied the game. But he walked Soto on a 3-2 pitch and then he walked Bell. After a mound conference, Robles got Ruiz (the potential game-winning run) to fly to shallow right.

Two games left and the Red Sox really cannot afford to lose either of them. Boston's starter for Saturday has not been announced (that's encouraging!). Chris Sale is penciled in for Sunday.

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